Updating version history

If you´ve been following this blog for some time, you will have seen me using IT related concepts every now and then. This is partially due to my professional bias: it´s a world that I´m pretty familiar with, having studied Computer Engineering at college, and having worked for many years as a software developer and systems analyst.

But also, I believe that comparing the human mind with a computer (or a mobile phone, which is probably easier to understand) is a really useful metaphor, keeping in mind the differences, of course.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post talking about the concept of version history, which is used for applications and operating systems, and how it can be applied to people as a self reflection exercise that can turn out to be really interesting. It helps us to realize how much we have changed along the years, and above all and most importantly, it reminds us of everything we have achieved.

And the best part is that we can keep it up to date as we overcome new challenges and achieve new goals (my updated version history is available in the about page).

Today I´m adding a new version, one that I feel really proud of: during the past few months, I´ve been training in enneagram, a tool for studying human personality that I´ve found simply amazing; and one that´s been incredibly helpful in getting me to understand myself much better and begin to understand others as well. It´s a very interesting and practical tool, it fits well as a complement to other self-discovery and personal development disciplines, and it can also be applied to a workplace environment. What attracted me, in particular, was its potential in combination with coaching, to facilitate much more personalized coaching processes according to the client´s enneatype.

But please be mindful that it´s really important to learn the enneagram well, as unfortunately there´s a lot of confusion and misinformation on this topic, either due to not going beyond its most superficial aspects and only looking at external behaviours, or due to not fully understanding the key points that are characteristic of each enneatype. I myself spent two years wrongly identified, thinking I was of a certain enneatype when in reality it was a different one... And I´m not the only one, on the contrary, it´s a story that´s often repeated.

The idea of taking a shortcut in the form of a test that tells us our enneatype is very tempting, but at the end of the day, there´s no learning in that, we´ll end up with a number without really knowing what that means... As it always happens in the world of personal development, the learnings come gradually, along the way. And this is a piece of work that nobody can do for us. So if this has piqued your curiosity and you want to start learning about enneagram, I encourage you to search for materials from Alberto Peña Chavarino (in Spanish) or Mario Sikora (in English).

And if you decide to give the version history exercise a try, feel free to let me know how it went 🙂

Giving up guilt

Today, Facebook reminded me of a post I wrote exactly thirteen years ago, quoting a phrase that really resonated with me back then:

God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die.

Bill Watterson

Does this feeling ring a bell? The feeling of not doing everything you should be doing, of not accomplishing everything you should be accomplishing, of moving too slowly and not being able to catch up...

I can think of a number of things I could say on this topic (and I probably will say them, in future articles), but for the moment, and taking into account the time of the year, today I´m going to focus on what I discovered to be the consequence (or maybe the cause?) of me feeling this way:


I felt guilty about everything.

Hiciera lo que hiciera, me sentía culpable por no hacerlo lo suficientemente bien, o por ser poco productiva y malgastar mi tiempo. Si estaba trabajando, me sentía mal por pasar poco tiempo con mis hijas; si estaba jugando con mis hijas, me sentía mal por no estar haciendo algo «más útil», como limpiar o cocinar… Y así, la lista seguía hasta el infinito, espero que se entienda la idea.

But luckily a few years later, I´m not sure exactly when, at some point something clicked in my head, and I realized that guilt was not delivering any productive outcomes for me, in fact it was the opposite. That was when I consciously decided to stop feeding my own guilt.

White page with the words "not guilty" written on it, next to a judge's hammer seen from above

Tanto España como Irlanda son países de tradición muy católica, y el concepto de culpa está muy enraizado en el catolicismo (sospecho que en otras religiones también, en mayor o menor medida, pero el catolicismo es la religión con la que me crié, y la que conozco de primera mano). Ahora estamos a punto de empezar la Cuaresma, y en Irlanda es típico elegir algo a lo que renunciar durante estos cuarenta días; por ejemplo, hay mucha gente que renuncia a los dulces. Supongo que de ahí viene luego la costumbre de atiborrarse de chocolate por Pascua de Resurrección, tendríais que ver el tamaño de los «Easter eggs» 🙂

Recuerdo que al poco de mudarme a Irlanda me sorprendía cuando me preguntaban: «¿y tú a qué vas a renunciar esta Cuaresma?» Como en España eso no es costumbre, no se me ocurría qué contestar… Hasta que un año se me encendió la bombillita y apareció en mi cabeza la respuesta: ¡A la culpa! Renuncio a sentirme culpable inútilmente.

What about you? What have you decided to give up?


Today I'm bringing you a word that's probably not in the dictionary, but it definitely exists, and it has a beautiful meaning:


It's the result of combining two English words, "family" and "friends", and it refers to a group of friends you feel so close to that you really consider them your family. They're your chosen family, so to speak. If you've ever lived in another country (or in a faraway city) for an extended period of time, you'll probably get this concept very easily.

Three little wooden dolls representing a family, next to a amall tippee, with an Earth globe behind them

That's what happened to my husband and me when we moved to Ireland: being so far away from our respective families, we started to rely a lot more on our friends, forming a new circle of loved ones. And that circle expanded with the arrival of our children, and it grew stronger, until it became our framily.

A few years have gone by since then, and due to various circumstances we're a little scattered around these days; but every now and then, stars align and some of us are able to get together, like this weekend (missing those of you who are not here). I've been able to verify once again that the same bond and the same closeness are still there, and it's been great to see that our kids, who grew up together as children but then didn't see each other for years, wmare also greatly enjoing the reunion

Because at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if they're family of friends, or how you first met, the point is noticing the wonderful people that are part of your life, and nurturing your relationship with them.

Stuck in time

This week has seen the start of the month of February, which also has its celebration dates, even if they´re not as well known as those from other months.

For example, February 2nd is marked in some places around Spain as the holiday of Candlemas, or "las Candelas", as they call it in Cáceres, my home town. I remember when my sister and I were children; we used to dress up as "campuzas" (wearing traditional costumes from our region), and join the celebrations near the chapel of Saint Blas.

Ireland also has a celebration for this time of the year, specifically on February 1st: the Celtic tradition used to celebrate the holiday of Imbolc, which later on, with the arrival of Christianity, became Saint Brigid´s day, honouring Ireland´s female patron saint. Interestingly, the Celtic tradition considered this date to be the beginning of spring... Spring? Already? But how can it be, with this cold? Yes, it´s true, it´s still cold, but if you look carefully, around this time you will start to see little new plants sprouting, new life growing, after it all being kind of asleep during the winter.

And speaking of winter, another tradition for this time of the year, this time in the United States (sorry but I forgot the name of the town) is Groundhog Day, which supposedly predicts if the winter will continue for a while or if spring will be arriving soon.

Groundhog standing on their hind legs with a small twig in their hands

To be honest, I probably remember this groundhog thing for the same reason as many of you, a movie that became very popular back in the day: "Groundhog day", translated into Spanish as "Atrapado en el tiempo" ("stuck in time"). In this movie, a sarcastic and grumpy TV reporter finds himself having to re-live the same day, February 2nd,, Groundhog Day, over and over again, until he finally learns from the lessons Life is sending him, and becomes a much more authentic person,

This plot is so well known nowadays that when somebody tells us they´re "living in Groundhog Day", we totally get it, right? They feel trapped in a routine where every day looks the same. So how can we get out of there?

Well, maybe the movie itself can give us a few clues. On the one hand, I heard or read somewhere that when every day looks the same to us, and the months and years pass by without us noticing, it´s because we´re not learning anything new... On the other hand, sometimes it feels like Life keeps putting the same situation in front of us again and again, and we keep stumbling over the same thing all the time... Could it be that we need to learn a better way to manage that situation, so that we can "pass" and get to the next level?

It´s very easy, and very tempting, to complain about routine and monotony in our day to day life, but that´s how we forget that the power to make every day count is actually in our hands.

So, what do you think? Do you feel like you´re living in Groundhog Day? And which is the song that plays on repeat for you every morning when you wake up?